Special Olympics Cayman Islands bocce coach Nicole Thompson has been selected to officiate at the Special Olympics World Games being held in Abu Dhabi next March.
Ms. Thompson started her coaching career in 1998 when she volunteered with SOCI. At the time, she knew nothing about bocce, but responded to the need and started learning everything she could.
Ms. Thompson progressed from volunteer to head coach, a journey that has taken her around the world, from Dublin, Ireland in 2003 to Athens, Greece in 2011. She has led bocce teams to three World Games, most recently the World Games in Los Angeles in 2015, as well as the Caribbean and Latin American Games.
In response to being selected to officiate at the World Games, Coach Thompson says she looks forward to being on the other side, “I am happy and honored to be selected as one of the 16 international technical officials for the games, and one of only two officials from the Caribbean.”
Of her experience coaching Special Olympics athletes, Ms. Thompson says the best part is focusing on their abilities. “Too often they live in a world of limitations. Special Olympics allows them to move past that.” She also points out that bocce is very inclusive, as athletes at any ability level can play and find success.
Bocce is one of the most popular sports at the World Games, with more than 1,000 matches expected to be played over 7 days.